From Russia with Love: James Bond 007 (Vintage) Paperback – 2 Aug 2012
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"Fleming brings a new precision to the business of intimate violence" (Guardian)
"One of my favourite books" (John F. Kennedy)
There is only one Bond.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The characterisation is the best feature of this tour de force. Every character is fully and artistically developed - Red Grant, the psychotic killer, is the ultimate Bond enemy and he still packs a punch fifty years on. Rosa Klebb is written vividly, in all her detestable glory. Romanovna is not the average Bond girl - she is well introduced, as well as being a most luscious Bond girl, and plenty of backround to her life is given, something often lacking in Fleming's other efforts. Bond himself is also developed marvellously, and quite aside from the cardboard cutout characters we often get in a Bond book, none of these characters are lacking in depth and dimension.
If the plot is good - SMERSH plotting to kill MI6's best agent and also to create a world wide sex scandal with far reaching implications for the credibility of British intelligence into the bargain - then the execution is better. Every page is a masterpiece in itself, and the whole plot moulds perfectly and seamlessly, from London, Istanbul, the Orient Express and France, with perfection.
Fleming, with FRWL, proves himself not only to be a top rate thriller writer, but a top rate story teller and descriptive writer as well.
Each of the three stories in this book differ significantly from the film versions; so even though you find yourself visualising the scenes you recognise, you are still confronted by surprises and twists in the plot.
Another major difference is the depth of character that Fleming gives to Bond, the girls and the villians - one possible criticism of the films are they are a bit "cartoonish".
Finally, although the books are set in a by-gone age of Cold War espionage, they capture that time perfectly with a refreshing "Britishness" which readers of my generation are not used to.
I highly recommend you try them out.
FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE is almost universally regarded as Fleming's masterpiece novel, and is the first novel in this collection. The plot is fairly similar to the 1963 film. The biggest difference is that the organisation that Bond is pitted against is SMERSH, rather than SPECTRE as it was in the film. SMERSH try to lure bond into a trap, the bait being a Spektor cipher machine. (It was called Lektor in the movie) Bond main ally is the memorable Darko Kerim. The girl is a Russian cipher clerk named Tatiana, and the villain is Rosa Klebb, a repulsive woman who is described brilliantly by Fleming. This is a great taut, suspenseful novel right down to the final twist on the last page.
DR NO is second in the collection and is another great read. This was the first Fleming novel I ever read, and it was a very nice, easy read. The plot is fairly simple, and the characters move fluidly within it. Honey Ryder is the Bond girl this time out, and Quarrel (from Live And Let Die) returns. Many of the scenes are the same as those in the movie, although the villain's death is very different (And quite bizarre!!) Bond is attacked by a deadly centipede and a giant squid and comes out the other end in one piece as only 007 can do!
GOLDFINGER is arguably one of the most famous titles in the world thanks to the 1964 film, and it rounds off this trio of novels. The highlight is undoubtedly the game of golf with Goldfinger. I actually enjoyed the first half of the novel more than the second half. The whole gangster scenario was a little difficult to follow, and the whole ending is not as good IMO as the film version. Nonetheless it is a great novel, and deserves a place in any collection, as do all of Ian Fleming's works, which tend to be underrated.
In the book Bond is no match for the beast that is Red Grant but judging him correctly to be a psychotic but professional killer he reasons that when Grant says he will shoot Bond once through the heart – that is what he will do and Bond prepares for the moment. The whole success of the mission depends on the death appearing to be suicide.
In the film proceeding one of the best movie fights I have ever seen, Grant taunts: ‘The first one won’t kill you, neither will the second…”
I don’t know many suicides who shoot themselves more than once in presumably painful places thus destroying the illusion of suicide. But I do still rate this film.
All the books are more realistic in their treatment of action and that’s why I prefer them. I love the fact that Bond knows he is no match for Grant and must therefore use his wits and experience to best him; which he does with gruesome results.
The downside of the books is that they are heavily stained with Fleming’s opinionated prejudice, however this doesn’t distract from the fine descriptive passages at which he excelled.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A completely different style of story for me as I am working my way through Fleming’s 007 books.
From Russia With Love has massive detail on the old enemy, SMERSH, on... Read more
If you can manage to ignore the occasional sexist, racist, homophobic, snobbish and right wing intrusions, as well as the “corny” elements, some of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels... Read morePublished 3 months ago by P. Webster
A rather old fashioned tale by modern standards but it is beautifully written (as one would expect from Ian Fleming) and makes a very good read.Published 3 months ago by vacant
My latest haul from the library included this 1957 title and “The Mask of Dimitrios” (1939) by Eric Ambler. Both books were freshly (2015 ) translated into my mother tongue. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Alfred J. Kwak